I Had to Laugh … Frederick Wentworth is not all that heroic

DSC_3951_Iván_Melenchón_Serrano_MorgueFile - CopyPersuasion is my favorite Austen novel. My affection for it eclipses any of the others. Writing fan fiction based on the characters puts me in unique position to work with all the text all the time.

Right now I’m working on a novel, tentatively calledBeFunky_Stenciler_1A Plan of His Own Making.” I’m posting it HERE if you want to read it. (This is a free site though membership is required. At the end of each segment is a link for comments. Please feel free.) And though it is a What-if, that doesn’t follow Austen’s original, I still cull through the novel for bits of dialogue, characterization, or narrative to lend a hand with authenticity.

I also am considering a short story about … never mind. Let’s just say I realized that once FW extricates himself from Louisa Musgrove and heads to Bath, aside from his own jealousy, he has easy sailing to the HEA. (Happily Ever After.) Most of FW’s ease is provided by Anne herself. She never makes Frederick sweat it at any point. Anne is never seriously attracted to William Elliot, Wentworth’s only real challenger in Bath. Anne’s internal monologue tells us she is tempted for only a very short time to marry her cousin so she can return to Kellynch Hall as Lady Elliot and take over her mother’s place. Other than that, she’s not even interested in Elliot.

That is Jane Austen’s fault.

west.hindsIf Persuasion were written today, some handy-dandy editor would point out how William is the perfect foil for Wentworth, and that other than his penchant for using people up like his late wife, his friend Charles Smith, and now Smith’s widow, he’s a real charmer. And rich. And related so there would be no need to change the monograms!

Down the road, I think Frederick needs a wake-up call. Anne is worth the fight. Maybe he needs to strap on a pair of dueling pistols and face the cousin.



6 thoughts on “I Had to Laugh … Frederick Wentworth is not all that heroic

    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      Part of this is driven by William Elliot, he’s great fun to write. And he’s much more layered than you might suspect. If the suspicions are true and he really loved Anne, there’s a lot to work with. Not just the user/abuser we see laid out by Jane.


  1. Gayle Mills

    I picture Anne as weighted by her guilt at accepting, then rejecting, Wentworth. The rejection was certainly the result of Lady Russell’s admonishment, but in the back of her mind, did she agree that she could do better? Or was she just a victim of her lack of exposure to eligible men in general at that point? She had no point of reference for what was truly desirable in a husband — nor how hard that would be to find. And after all those long years of pining for Wentworth and what might have been, what did she have to show for it? One measly proposal by Charles Musgrove. Where were all those men that Lady Russell implied would be seeking her hand?

    She was certainly worse off than she had been when she first knew Wentworth. She’s a decade older, noticeably in financial straits, and there’s no suitor in sight. He, on the other hand, is more experienced, financially enriched, and attracting attention from all female quarters.

    Even though she wants another chance, she has to be smart enough to realize that it won’t be coming. She’s obligated to at least consider William Elliot’s advances.


    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      I can see why William Elliot has a passing attraction for any woman. But Austen makes it clear that Anne never gave it much thought. She has Elizabeth putting more thought into a match with Elliot than she does Anne. To be real, I think there should have been more to an Anne/William liaison than there is.



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